~Leaves of gold~ - The feast

Indil lived in a wooden house near the palace. Although it was not very big it was pleasant and comfortable with round windows and a lovely garden. It reminded Lykawyn of the house she lived when she was an elfling.

Indil's parents were good-natured people as Indil herself. Her mother was named Artawen and she was a very beautiful woman with flaxen wavy hair. Her father's name was Mandil and he had chestnut hair and dark green sparkling eyes, the same as Indil and her little brother Earion. The sparkle was even more distinct in Earion's eyes making his little face look very mischievous. They all welcomed Lykawyn warmly and she was glad and relieved to read frankness in their eyes.

"I'll show you the house" Indil decided after some time.

"No! Don't!" Earion shouted but it was too late. The moment she opened a door she received a pailful of icy water. She grinded her teeth and clentched her fists.

"Even on the first day I come back home after a whole year you can't be a little nicer, Earion." she shouted.

Her brother smiled innocently. "Well, this wasn't meant for you" he said, "How could I possibly know that you would arrive today?"

***

The next day was the celebration's day. Lykawyn and Indil took part in no festivities, as they were exhausted from traveling until the previous day. Lykawyn intended not to go to the feast in the evening as well. She had a vague fear (she couldn't tell of what) but she had no idea of how to behave there and she could not speak Sindarin very well, yet. But Indil insisted on them going both and she was persuaded at last.

Indil lent her a dress of hers. It was a dark blue one, matching her eyes, with long wide sleeves. She also gave her a silver carved belt and placed a silver circlet on her hair. When she finished dressing Lykawyn stood in front of a large mirror in a corner of the room and looked at her reflection. Indeed, those clothes made her look very pretty. This lifted her spirits a bit and she followed Indil to the glade the feast was held.

Lanterns shining with a mellow golden, green or silver light, were hanging from the branches of the trees. The feast had just started. Many elves were there, laughing and enjoying themselves. Nearly all of them were wearing some kind of wreath or circlet. Some were singing or playing musical instruments, mainly harps. Sweet elvish music filled the air. King Thranduil himself had come. The whole atmosphere was dreamlike.

Lykawyn had never been in something like that before. She was so fascinated that she hardly noticed it when she was given a goblet of wine, the elves passed from hand to hand. When she gave it to Indil she told her:

"Thank you for insisting on us coming here. This is so beautiful!"

She noticed that next to the King was sitting the elf she had met the previous day, Legolas. After some time she saw him get up and come next to them. He greeted Indil and then Lykawyn, but he couldn't remember her name.

"How exactly is your name?" he asked "Lykwen, perhaps?"

"Um... Lykawyn" she said.

"Oh, yes, right." said Legolas "Strange name! What does it mean?"

Indeed, what did it mean? Lykawyn knew not. She wondered why she had never thought of that before. She hadn't asked her foster parents and if she had, she could not remember the answer.

"I don't know." she finally said.

"Well, they are some names, some very ancient elvish names that it is really difficult to say what they mean." Legolas told her after some thought.

`This is not an elvish name" said a cold voice behind them. They turned and saw an elf sitting alone. He could have been handsome if he hadn't such an arrogant expression on his face.

" "Lykawyn" is a name Men often give to their children." he continued with a tinge of sarcasm in his voice. "How does an elven lady come to bear a name as such?"

"This is not your business, Orondil!" Indil said the same as coldy.

"Oh! Dear Indil" exclaimed the elf that was called Orondil "I'm sorry. I haven't noticed you. I see, you are unfortunately back in Mirkwood. I suppose the lady is a friend of yours, isn't she?"

Indil frowned.

" Well, I should have known." he said, interpreting her silence as agreement. " Your friends are always the weirdest of folks. I wonder how Prince Legolas can bear you!"

Indil clenched her fists under the table.

"Ignore him!" Legolas whispered to her. "Let's go and sit somewhere else. I don't want you two having a row again". She agreed reluctantly. So, they sat where Legolas was sitting before, next to King Thranduil.

"Who is he?" Lykawyn asked Legolas quietly.

"You mean, Orondil?" he said, "He is a patrol guard. I know him since we were elflings and so does Indil. He's not bad. But he and Indil are arguing since the first day they met. It's really irritating sometimes."

Lykawyn looked at Indil. She had lost all her appetite for entertainment and was sitting with arms folded and lips pursed.

"Is your name really not elvish?" Legolas asked her after some time.

"No. It's not" she said and told Legolas her story. She didn't know but the King also listened to her carefully. When she finished he asked her slowly and strangely serious.

"You said Woodmen found you near their village?"

"Yes, your Majesty." she replied. Hers and the king's eyes met. She instantly knew that great wisdom laid behind those eyes. She shuddered feeling somehow awkward as if he could see right through her and lowered her gaze.


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